Study Abroad Brown Bag
Thursday, April 1  — 12-1, G239 Angell Hall

Summary: Elizabeth Pariano from Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) gave an overview of how they work with students through the entire process of thinking about, searching for, going on, and returning from an international study program.  She divided her presentation into the Before, During, and After of study abroad and distributed an informational handout that they give to students to assist them in thinking about and finding a program.  She said that the most common referrals made in the Before period were to CGIS and the Education Abroad Office in the International Center.  She described how the department has worked with CGIS on issues of course offerings, evaluation, and approval, and also discussed the more difficult and complicated process that this entails with regard to non-UM programs.  In this connection, Sally Lindsley from Admissions was also present and gave a brief overview of how credit evaluation and course approval work and the procedure by which departments may authorize the transfer and posting of non-UM courses (whether domestic or international).  Jan Afonso also previewed a new version of the online pre-approval evaluation form that students use to submit courses to Credit Evaluation and talked about a new searchable transfer credit database that the College hopes to launch sometime in the Fall. 

Elizabeth showed a CTools site that RLL uses to archive information about many abroad programs and courses equivalencies for use by faculty advisors when they are working with students throughout the process.  She also discussed the challenges of working with students while they are abroad, in particular, if their proposed schedule changes, and the process by which course approvals and major exceptions are entered in the online student file.

Challenges: The main challenges that arose in the discussion were related to informing students about the process and timing of the approval of courses towards specific college-wide, major, or minor requirements (how to reach as many students and in as timely a manner as possible, disabuse them of the assumption that courses will automatically count, and remind them of what materials are necessary for the evaluation and approval of coursework towards specific requirements) and communicating with them while they are abroad.

Suggestions & Recommendations:

  • Specialize: RLL is considering designating specific faculty advisors as study abroad specialists to which students interested in this would be referred.  This way training could be consolidated and modifications to procedures and information could be communicated to fewer and more appropriate advisors.
  • Present Information consistently and continuously: have a centralized information resource for use by all advisors; make detailed notes in the online student file.
  • Collaboration: Contact CGIS and Credit Evaluation to discuss course offerings, transfer credit, and course approval; consider requesting to attend relevant CGIS program info sessions.
  • Other Considerations:
    • What other means are being used to get basic information to students, e.g., websites, email, newsletters, handouts, group information sessions, etc.?  (See also, Effective Communication With Students Brown Bag.)
    • Experiment with IM or Skype advising with students while they are abroad, bearing in mind time differences.
  • Future Development: This topic obviously far exceeded the time available in a Brown Bag, and there are tentative plans to have a semester-long series on study abroad.

Resources:

CGIS: www.lsa.umich.edu/cgis/
Education Abroad: www.internationalcenter.umich.edu/swt/
Newnan Center Study Abroad site: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/advising/academicoptions/studyabroad
Credit Evaluation: Departments should continue to send transfer credit issues, updates, and transfer credit exception permissions to Lynn Pruitt, blpruitt@umich.edu.  For general policy questions about transfer credit, please refer to Sally Lindsley, sallyhl@umich.edu.

 

Romance Languages and Literatures Study Abroad Site: www.lsa.umich.edu/rll/undergraduate/studyabroad


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